Summer Crops Update: June 23

Crops Updates are provided by Matt Celona, Drumlin Farm Crops Manager.

© Sarah Lang, Assistant Farmer

Plants Need Sunscreen, Too
Thanks to the help of volunteers, we finished transplanting an acre and a half of winter squash before the weekend. Should you stop by the fields, you might think the squash plants look as if they’ve been painted white. We dip them in a thick batter of Surround crop protectant before moving them to the field. Surround is “calcined kaolin clay,” and it essentially acts as a sunscreen, cooling them by up to fifteen degrees—a really important effect during this stretch of very dry, sunny, and windy weather. Its grittiness also agitates the squash bugs and cucumber beetles that would like to feed on the plants. With a heavy rain, the clay will wash off.

Rain vs. Weeds
Rain tends to lower the quality of our small strawberry crop (there are still beautiful berries at the stand), but it benefits everything else. Nothing is wilting yet, but we are starting to experience poor germination in direct-seeded crops like carrots and greens.

On the other hand, dry and windy weather is great for killing weeds, and we scored a victory in the endless battle thanks to the combined effort of volunteers and Drumlin’s own summer camp counselors. We had considered mowing-in a bed of snap peas because of the severity of the weed pressure, but, thanks to all the great help, that bed was saved, others were rendered more accessible, and we had a much easier time picking the peas for today’s mega restaurant orders. Thanks, all!

Farmers: What Would We Do Without Them?
The team is doing an amazing job maintaining the fields and bringing high-quality produce to the stand, market, and restaurants. We have seven part-time workers who are an integral part of the Drumlin Crops team: Ryan, donut baker at Union Square Donuts; Maggie, a cross-country runner from Colby College; Erin, a recent PhD in Victorian Literature from Brandeis; Steve, a father of three; Cara, a musician; and Jacob, a high school student who just finished a semester at The Mountain School of Milton Academy; and Emma, a guest from Italy.

It’s an enormous pleasure working with this group of people who care so much about growing good food.

See you in the field,

Your farmers

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